Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: www.rondomusic.com
Sound — 4
This guitar is being run through a Peavey Valveking 112 eq'd for high mid levels on distortion and a flat and bright clean sound. When played unplugged, it is bright and loud acoustically despite the cheap floyd. When plugged in, the tone goes down. Played clean through the neck pickup, the cleans are sterile and lifeless. Very poor. The only redeeming factor is reasonable clarity on the low B string, which does not get muddy while clean. The bridge played through clean is twangy, and what to expect from a ceramic bridge pickup. One plus on cleans is that the pickups are not high enough output to force breakup at an early stage. This guitar really shines with moderate amounts of gain. The bridge is clear at lower gain levels, allowing chords to be heard clearly. The neck pickup is again, sterile. It lacks output for drive. It also is incredibly muddy when driven. At metal levels of gain, this guitar does poorly. The bridge lacks output and loses clarity as gain increases, and the low B string is a muddy mess at higher gain levels. The gain sound is grainy and loose, eliminating note clarity in the lower registers. The neck pickup is to low output to be useful for leads and tapping, and does not have enough compression for these. Rhythms are a wall of fuzz. Not good. One plus is the 27 in. Scale, which helps clarity of the low notes.
Overall Impression — 7
I play metal, jazz, and classic rock and this guitar is a good match for metal and some jazz but not much else. It is a fantastic playing guitar with a poor sound plugged in, which can easily be rectified by replacing the pickups. With some easy mods such as replacing electronics/blocking the floyd this guitar can become a workhorse. Until these mods are done though, it is not fantastic.
Reliability & Durability — 9
There have been no issues. If feels as if it could withstand live playing. All hardware except for the floyd rose feels solid and well made. The strap buttons should be replaced with straploks but are fine as is. I would not gig without a backup for fear of broken strings, but during a gig I would not worry about the electronics. The finish is applied thick and will not wear off in the foreseeable future.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
From the factory, setup was average. The floyd needed adjusted, action lowered, intonation done, and pickups raised. The electronics (pots/switch) are cheap (noisy, poor taper) and need replaced. After the setup, this guitar was fantastic. It played well with a low action and no buzz. The wood is fine, but very dense and heavy. The finish was well done with no discernible blemishes and the top was well bookmatched and figured. Binding was well done. The tuners were installed properly along with the nut, and hold tune well. The floyd rose was of poor quality and needed blocked off. Despite all these issues, the guitar itself plays incredibly well and resonates well acoustically. One worry may be the Baritone scale length, which may be a concern for those not used to it.
Features — 7
Specs: - 24 fret maple neck with rosewood fret board - Bolt on neck joint - White binding - Beveled back - Polyurethane finish - Grover tuners - Licensed Floyd Rose Tremolo w/locking nut - Two generic passive humbuckers - Three piece ash body (11 lbs.) with burled ash veneer - One volume, one tone, three way toggle - Brushed Chrome Hardware - Factory string gauges: 010, 013, 017, 026, 036, 046, 056 - Overall length is 41 1/2" including the strap button. Scale length is 27". Width at the widest point is 12.5". - Width of the neck at the nut: 1 7/8"; at the 22st fret: 2 3/16". - Neck profile (thickness) first fret 13/16" 12th 7/8". Features are average for the price range, nothing special except for a solid ash body.